Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, March 1, 2012

If You Can't Take the Pressure . . .

Note the pressure 'bob'. It's there for a reason . . .

During their early years on the ranch, my parents sponsored several German immigrants.
They all proved to be wonderful, industrious, conscientious people.
Eager to work and to become 'Canadians'.
One of the girls, Erica, was helping Mom in the house when my next older brother was born.
She proved to be invaluable with the household chores and cooking, but struggled at learning English.
Mom knew a little German, however, so they managed to muddle through.
On a few occasions, though, the language barrier proved to be a . . . barrier.
Erica was fascinated with the pressure cooker.
That miraculous appliance that could cook food in a fraction of the time.
The microwave of the 50s.
Apparently, though they were widely used in Canada, they hadn't caught on in Erica's part of Germany.
Mom had tried to school Erica on the proper use of this amazing new contraption.
She had managed to get through steps one through four.
  1. Food and a small amount of water is placed inside
  2. Seal adjusted
  3. Lid screwed on and
  4. Pressure bob applied.
I should point out, here, that those are the easy steps.
Then comes the actual cooking part.
And this was where Erica always came to grief.
She couldn't seem to grasp that, if the pressure rings are up on the pressure bob, the kettle is full of . . . pressure.
Up to this point, Mom had always been there to divert disaster.
But on this particular day, Mom was still in town running errands.
Erica decided to cook dinner on her own.
What a glorious opportunity to try out the fabulous new invention!
All went well.
Pots alternately steamed and bubbled.
Dinner was nearly ready.
Erica pulled the large pressure cooker off the stove and gave it a quick dunk under a cold stream of water.
Then she wrenched off the lid.
The lid and released steam hit her full in the face.
Beets flew everywhere.
Erica screamed and ran out on the front steps.
Dad heard her screaming and come running.
There he found the poor girl, confused and in obvious pain.
Her nose was bleeding profusely and she had obviously been scalded.
He got her into the bathroom, where he started her soaking her face in cold water.
When Mom came home a short time later, she bundled Erica into the girl's bedroom and applied teabags to the exposed areas.
They proved to be quite soothing and she was able to rest.
Then Mom was able to start on the kitchen.
Which looked like a slaughter house.
Beets were everywhere.
Mom even found one on top of the knick-knack shelf in the corner.
Remarkably, a month later, Erica had healed without a mark.
But Mom was taking no further chances.
Though the pressure cooker remained in plain sight, the pressure bob, the little gizmo that made everything . . . dangerous, was hidden in a very secret place.
Never store the gun and the bullets in the same cupboard.

7 comments:

  1. I had one of those....when the bob is rockin' don't lift the lid. I used it a few times but I was really really scared of it. After a little while, I threw the lid out and used the pot for potatoes. Poor Erica....a scalded face is a painful thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband used ours quite a bit. He had been schooled by his mother, so all was well. It always scared me though. I always think of the story of Erica when I see one.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. The only difference is the LEVEL of trouble they can get into . . .

      Delete
  3. Mom cooked in one of those constantly. Her secret to a decent stew. I never approached it; it scared the daylights out of me. Poor Erica...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Mom used it all the time. She used to make the most amazing roasts and chickens. Tender and tasty! Sigh. I miss her!

      Delete
  4. I have never used a pressure cooker and after this story never:)

    ReplyDelete

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